Kentucky Oaks Roundup: Feb. 24, 2020

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February 24th, 2020

Stay up to speed on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks with a weekly roundup of all the latest news and developments:

Changes on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard

Down On Da Bayou burst onto the Kentucky Oaks scene with a breathtaking victory in the UAE Oaks (G3) last Thursday in Dubai. Racing 1 3/16 miles over the dirt track at Meydan, Down On Da Bayou carved out a slow pace on the front end before accelerating in the homestretch, powering clear to defeat UAE 1,000 Guineas winner Dubai Love by a staggering 18 1/2 lengths.

Down On Da Bayou secured 50 Kentucky Oaks qualification points for her victory, while Dubai Love picked up 20 points for her runner-up effort. Distant third-place finisher Serein, shipping in from Japan, gained 10 points to debut in sixth place on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard.

Meanwhile, Frank’s Rockette (4 points, 18th place) made her seasonal debut in the 6-furlong Any Limit S. at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of Into Mischief led all the way to win by seven lengths under a hand ride and figures to rejoin the Road to the Kentucky Oaks next time out.

On the other end of the spectrum, it was announced on Friday that three-time Grade 1 winner Bast (34 points) has been retired with a minor soft tissue injury. As one of the most accomplished fillies on the Kentucky Oaks trail, Bast’s defection leaves a major hole on the leaderboard that will take some time to fill.

Kentucky Oaks News and Notes

Nominations for the Kentucky Oaks were released on Monday morning, with 116 fillies made eligible for the 1 1/8-mile race. Leading the charge is British Idiom, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2019.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert leads all trainers with 13 nominees, including Santa Ynez (G2) runner-up Auberge. Meanwhile, two-time Oaks-winning trainer Steve Asmussen has nominated a powerful quintet of contenders, including graded stakes winners Finite, Wicked Whisper, and Comical.

Notably absent from the list of nominees are Down On Da Bayou and Dubai Love, the top two finishers from the UAE Oaks (G3). They can still be supplemented to the Kentucky Oaks at a cost of $1,500, due by April 11, but in the meantime they will be excluded from the official Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard rankings.

On the Kentucky Oaks Work Tab

Auberge: Baffert’s most accomplished Oaks nominee clocked 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 on Monday at Santa Anita.

Donna Veloce: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up cruised 5 furlongs in 1:01 on Thursday at Los Alamitos.

Finite: Fresh off a decisive victory in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), Finite cruised an easy half-mile in :51.40 on Monday at Fair Grounds.

Lake Avenue: The Demoiselle (G2) winner continues to breeze like clockwork at Payson Park, cranking out 4 furlongs in :49.40 on Monday.

Maedean: Runner-up in the Demoiselle, Maedean took another step toward her 2020 debut when breezing 5 furlongs in 1:02.09 on Friday at Gulfstream.

Tonalist’s Shape: Wrapped up her preparations for the Davona Dale (G2) by clocking 5 furlongs in 1:00.85 on Sunday at Gulfstream.

Venetian Harbor: The runaway Las Virgenes (G2) winner blazed a bullet half-mile in :46.20 on Friday at Santa Anita, the fastest time of the morning by more than a second.

Looking Ahead

The Road to the Kentucky Oaks continues on Saturday with the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream, which offers 50 qualification points to the winner. The 1-mile race is expected to draw a quality field led by the undefeated Forward Gal (G3) winner Tonalist’s Shape, while Demoiselle (G2) 1-2 finishers Lake Avenue and Maedean are also nominated.